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Thoth Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Thoth probably won't win over those who aren't into dual-stick shooters, but fans of the genre will find a fun little action game with a handful of inventive twists on the formula. I like the simple look, the electronic soundtrack and the way it will play with the rules from one stage to the next. If this is the direction Carlsen Games is headed, then I can't wait to see what comes next. Rating: 71%
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A few weeks ago, I reviewed a simple-looking 2D platformer called 140. Despite solid mechanics, I was disappointed that the action game didn't offer anything new to the formula, choosing instead to recycle ideas found in better platformers. Although I was ultimately letdown by the uneven experience, I had a hunch it would only be a matter of time before Carlsen Games delivers a product worth getting excited about.

As it turns out, I didn't have to wait long. Thoth is the brand new game from the maker of 140. It trades 2D platforming for dual-stick shooting, yet another oversaturated genre where innovation is rare. But instead of simply recycling what every other shoot-em-up has done, Carlsen Games has managed to create an action game with one inventive idea right after another. Thoth is everything 140 should have been.


The concept is as simple as the graphics: You play a small circle that can fly around the screen shooting enemies of varying shapes. The idea is to shoot all of the color out of the objects and clear the board. But beware, because removing the color doesn't take the enemies off the screen. In fact, it only pisses them off, making them faster and more aggressive. What seems easy at first will quickly spiral out of control when you have a bunch of large colorless shapes chasing after you.

What sets Thoth apart from so many other dual-stick shooters is that it's not afraid to completely rewrite the rules from stage to stage. The levels are split into groups of four, each with their own unique twist on the formula. It starts simple, with round enemies that will grow over time, bad guys that will open gates and shapes tethered together. But this is just the warm-up, because the game will eventually turn up the challenge in creative ways. For example, one grouping will see the player switching characters with every kill, something that is both cool and a little disorienting.

Even though you've seen some of the ideas before, Thoth has enough of these clever gimmicks to keep you going through the dozens of stages. They also find unique ways to tinker with these different ideas throughout the game, something that made me compelled to keep pushing forward, even when the game was kicking my ass. This is definitely a challenging game, but it's fair and always doable.

Thoth (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Much like 140, you're not really playing this for the gorgeous graphics. At best, this looks like a high-res Atari 2600 game. There are no backgrounds, just the stage number counting down. Each grouping has a different color scheme, but even that is usually only changing two or three colors. This is the kind of game you play for the action, not the visuals.

Thoth probably won't win over those who aren't into dual-stick shooters, but fans of the genre will find a fun little action game with a handful of inventive twists on the formula. I like the simple look, the electronic soundtrack and the way it will play with the rules from one stage to the next. If this is the direction Carlsen Games is headed, then I can't wait to see what comes next.
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